Sammy Sosa : biography
In the season, Sosa hit 63 home runs, again trailing Mark McGwire who hit 65. In the season, Sammy led the league by hitting 50 home runs. He received the Babe Ruth Home Run Award for leading MLB in homers.
In , he hit 64 home runs, becoming the first player to hit 60 home runs in three seasons in his career. However, he did not lead the league in any of those seasons; in 2001, he finished behind Barry Bonds, who hit 73 homers, breaking the single-season home run record set by McGwire in 1998 (70). In the same season he set personal records in runs scored (146), RBI (160), walks (116), on base percentage (.437), slugging percentage (.737), and batting average (.328). He led the majors in runs and RBI, was 2nd in home runs, 2nd in slugging percentage, 1st in total bases, 3rd in walks, 4th in on base percentage, 12th in batting average, and 15th in hits. He also surpassed his 1998 number in total bases, racking up 425. Sosa once again led the league in home runs with 49 in . Known as a free-swinger in his early years, and as a good strikeout candidate, Sammy became an effective hitter for average. He owns numerous team records for the Cubs, and he holds the major-league record for the most home runs hit in a month (20, in June 1998). In recognition of his accomplishments as a hitter, Sosa won the Silver Slugger award (an award for offensive output, voted on by managers and coaches) in and in 1998 through 2002.
Sammy Sosa had three 60+ home run seasons with the Cubs (’98, ’99, & ’01) In , the Cubs won the National League Central Division title. The year was not all good news for Sosa, however. In May, he spent his first period on the disabled list since after having an injured toenail removed. On June 3, 2003, Sosa was ejected from a Chicago Cubs-Tampa Bay Devil Rays game in the first inning when umpires discovered he had been using a corked bat. (June 4, 2003) ESPN.com. Accessed 2007-06-05. Major League Baseball confiscated and tested 76 of Sosa’s other bats after his ejection; all were found to be clean, with no cork. Five bats he had sent to the Hall of Fame in past years were also tested, and were all clean as well. (June 5, 2003). ESPN.com. Accessed 2007-06-05. Sosa stated that he had accidentally used the corked bat, which he claimed he only used during batting practice. "I use that bat for batting practice. It’s something that I take the blame for. It’s a mistake, I know that. I feel sorry. I just apologize to everybody that are embarrassed."http://bleacherreport.com/articles/743807-the-25-most-embarrassing-moments-in-mlb-history/page/20 When Dusty Baker, the Cub manager was interviewed later, he stated any use of corked bats on his team is strictly prohibited. On June 6, Sosa was suspended for eight games. (6 June 2003) BBC Sport. Accessed 2007-06-05. However, the suspension was reduced to seven games after appeal on June 11. (12 June 2003) BBC Sport. Accessed 2007-06-05. Sosa finished the season with 40 home runs, and he hit two more in the 2003 NLCS against the Florida Marlins, a series famous for the Steve Bartman incident, which the Cubs led 3 games to 1 before ultimately falling in seven games.
In May , Sosa suffered an odd injury while sitting next to his locker chatting with reporters before a game in San Diego’s PETCO Park. He sneezed very violently, causing severe back pain. He was diagnosed with back spasms and placed on the disabled list. Later, he fell into one of the worst slumps of his career, only snapping out of it during the last week of the season. He was greatly depressed when the officials told him he couldn’t play. He finished with 35 homers, far below his numbers of his best years. In his final 10 years with the Cubs he clubbed 479 home runs; the most in history over a 10 year span. The final straw for the Cubs was an incident in late 2004. Sosa requested to sit out the last game of the season, which was at home against the Atlanta Braves, and he left Wrigley Field early in the game. It was his last time in a Cubs uniform.